Spring Forecast 2018 and exclusive sneak peek at summer
Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 11:00 AM - Spring is a temperamental season as winter tries to hold on against the building warmth, higher sun angle and the inevitable increase in daylight. Read more to find out what the temperature and precipitation will bring for all Canadians.
"While dramatic swings in weather are a normal part of the season, this spring looks to have a particularly volatile mood," says Chris Scott, chief meteorologist with The Weather Network.
Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2018 for an in depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more.
Spring temperature pattern
Much of Canada has struggled to maintain any consistent warm weather, and that struggle will continue through most of April as winter will still have a few more parting shots for most Canadians. The coldest weather (relative to normal) will be found across western and central Canada, while Atlantic Canada will be closer to seasonal.
QUIZ: What's your spring IQ?
Spring precipitation pattern
An active storm track with systems tapping into abundant Gulf and Atlantic moisture should result in above-normal precipitation from the Great Lakes to Atlantic Canada. The southernmost parts of the Prairies could also above normal precipitation.
Meanwhile, the remainder of Canada will see near-normal precipitation, with the exception of northwestern B.C. and southwestern parts of the Yukon territory.
Read on for a region-by-region breakdown.
The arrival of consistent spring weather will be delayed this year across the province. Cooler than normal temperatures are expected, especially during the first half of the season across most of B.C. However, the final numbers for the season will be near seasonal near the south coast, including Vancouver and Victoria.
The near normal precipitation and cooler temperatures through April for the mountains and interior will allow for an extended ski season and potentially a delayed start to the wildfire season. However, this region will transition to a warmer and drier than normal pattern late in the spring with a very warm and dry summer expected.
Mini-forecast: Delayed is the KEY word for spring shift
Consistent spring weather will be delayed this year as we expect a colder than normal March and April across the region. While March has brought significant snowfall to parts of the region, overall the below-normal winter snowpack and cooler spring weather pattern reduces the risk of flooding from the spring thaw.
Soil moisture is a concern for large parts of the region after a dry summer last year and below normal snowfall through the winter. There are indications that spring will feature a more active weather pattern across the southern Prairies, bringing some relief from the very dry conditions. However, confidence in this part of the forecast is lower and we are increasingly concerned that a very warm and dry pattern will develop as we head into summer.
Mini-forecast: 'Good heavy snow' is part of it, find out when
Ontario and Quebec
A sluggish start to spring is expected as colder than normal temperatures will dominate during the second half of March and much of April. In addition, we have a higher than typical threat for winter-like storms, especially for central and northern regions. However, spring will only be delayed, not denied, as temperatures during the second half of spring are expected to be closer to normal.
An active storm track is expected across the region, bringing above normal precipitation and stormy weather at times during the spring season. We do not expect more rainy days than normal, but the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic Ocean are much warmer than normal and systems that tap into moisture from these regions will bring heavy rainfall at times.
Mini-forecast: Back-and-forth swing to be the MAJOR theme, details here
While it was a relatively mild winter across Atlantic Canada, winter will still have some parting shots for the region, including the threat for a few more nor’easters. The back-and-forth temperature swings should come close to offsetting one another, but with more potential for the warmth to outweigh the periods of colder weather, especially across southern areas. An active storm track will tap into subtropical moisture at times and bring above normal precipitation to most of the region through the spring season.
Mini-forecast: No snow, no problems for Atlantic Canada? Not so fast
Northern parts of the Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories will have above normal temperatures for the season as a whole. Southern parts of this region will generally see near normal temperatures, but southern Yukon, including Whitehorse, is expected to be colder than normal during the spring. Precipitation is expected to be near normal across the region except for southwestern parts of the Yukon where below normal precipitation is expected.
Video: Why 'equal day and night' on the Spring equinox is wrong
Preliminary look ahead to summer
We expect a warm to hot summer for most of North America. Most regions should see temperatures that are either near or above normal during the months of June, July and August. The one region that appears to be the least likely to see a hot summer is centred on the Great Lakes.
To some extent this resembles the pattern that we saw last summer with the warmest weather found across western Canada and Atlantic Canada and the cooler weather found in between. However, we do expect that this summer will be warmer in the Great Lakes region than it was last summer.
We expect that a big story during the summer season will be the worsening drought conditions across western and central parts of the United States with a significant impact on agriculture and wildfires. As we develop our final summer forecast we will be closely analyzing the threat for these drought conditions to extend north into parts of Canada.